Thanks for your extended comments, atcroft, they helped me to get over the hump here. That book is definitely worth reading and bookmarking. Regarding VPS's, a super search revealed Is it Perl problem or VPS problem? and Move Perl modules to new CentOS VPS, good for background.A few quick notes. '@' refers to the zone name.
I really don't know how to disambiguate the @'s in this business yet. What ended up working for me was, for the A tab, putting the @ in the left window and 'fourth' on the right, the alias for my IP address. I did the same with AAAA, and then all the records look like this:
DNS records Type Hostname Value TTL (seconds) AAAA www.merrillpjensen.com directs to 2604:a880:4:1d0::78:2000 3600 A www.merrillpjensen.com directs to 188.8.131.52 3600 NS www.merrillpjensen.com directs to ns2.digitalocean.com. 1800 NS www.merrillpjensen.com directs to ns3.digitalocean.com. 1800 NS www.merrillpjensen.com directs to ns1.digitalocean.com 1800
To be very honest, I don't understand these mappings at all. Indeed, the NS ones seem to be backwards to me. (?)Here is a sample zone file in BIND syntax for example.com:
I actually tried to look this up and found something rather interesting. I couldn't figure out how a person comes by such data for any given site.